HFD warns of brush fire risk as dry conditions approach

Local News

The threat of brush fires is increasing as we head into summer and fire officials want you to be prepared.

The Honolulu Fire Department has fought 2,000 brush fires in the last five years.

They’ve damaged more than 9,000 acres of land, and firefighters have dedicated more than 50,000 hours battling the flames.

The Fire Department says preventing brush fires needs to be everyone’s job.

A fire in May tore through a hillside in Makakilo, scorching more than 80 acres of land and leaving many residents scrambling to get out of it’s path.

“We put the hose through the fence, and she just sat there and hosed this.

The whole area and it’s the only area that did not get burned,” said Andrew Cece, who’s home backs up to the hillside that was burned.

Luckily the fire never reached his home or any others in the area, but the fire did come very close.

“I think the anticipation of it being big wasn’t there and then again it shifted so quickly so we do need to discuss it more and be more prepared,” said Cece.

With the summer almost here,this is the time we tend to see more brush fires and so far we have had quite a few.

“Last week we had a fire at Diamond Head, we had fires on the east side, we had fires in central Oahu and Pearlridge,” said Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves. “So it’s a concern for everybody.”

There are steps you can take to make sure your home is safe.

“You should keep your property well maintained,” said HFD spokesperson, Capt. David Jenkins. “Keep anything combustible away. If it catches fire it shouldn’t be leaned up against your structure. Anything that can transfer the wild land fire to your home should be cleared away and put somewhere safe.”

Firefighters also say you should have a 30 foot buffer zone around your house and make sure to maintain a fire break.

Brush fires are a statewide problem and fire officials say the majority are started by people whether it’s an accident or intentional.

On Kauai authorities say there have been 70 brush fires since December all believed to be intentionally set.

Some tips for you to stay safe this season:

  • Clear away any brush or high weeds at least 30 feet away from any structures. That brush or weeds could act as fuel for a fire.
  • Make sure you keep a water course near your house.
  • If you see smoke, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are a smoker, do not discard lit cigarettes out of your vehicle.

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